The pīwakawaka, tīwaiwaka, or fantail is a harbinger of winter, arriving down from the high country as temperatures drop.
In Maori myth it was the fantail that caused Māui’s death, so it is a harbinger of death when seen inside in a house.
Some believe the birds carry the spirits of the dead.
All of that seems far too serious for the birds which always seem to be playful and make me smile, for which I’m grateful.
New Zealand’s fastest bird, the karearea/ New Zealand falcon, has been voted the 2012 Bird of the Year.
. . . karearea are also known for their aerial acrobatics. They have a maximum speed of 230km/hr and can catch their prey mid-flight, making this falcon the daredevil of the air.
It received 1255 out of 10223 votes.
The tui was Forest and Bird’s inaugural bird of the year, in 2005.
The fantail (piwakawaka) won the following year then it was the grey warbler(riroriro). The kakapo triumphed in 2008 and the kiwi in 2009.
It was the kakariki’s turn in 2010 and the pukeko claimed the title last year.
Which bird will win this year?
You can vote here and not only see the birds which are vying for the title but hear their calls as well.
Forest and Bird is doing its annual poll to find the bird of the year.
Candidates for the title of our favourite feathered friend include the Barn Owl, which is New Zealand’s newest native bird, and more well known candidates like the piwakwaka (fantail) and korimako (bellbird).
The karearea’s (NZ falcon) chances ought to be boosted by featuring in an interview with its campaign manager but so far the Pukeko is a clear leader with 5228 votes.
Monday’s questions were:
1. Where and when was Anchor butter launched.
2. What is a piwakawaka?
3. Who said: “If you find it hard to laugh at yourself I would be happy to do it for you.”?
4. Who wrote the poem, Milking Before Dawn?
5. What does sinistrorse mean?
Paul Tremewan and Gravedodger share the honours today.
Paul’s stab in the dark for Anchor butter missed but he got the other four right with a bonus for amusing me with the extra info on Groucho. (But why equus in relation to sinistorse? I know it’s the name of a play and that it relates to matters equine but don’t get the link to left).
Gravedodger got four right and a bonus for close-enough for his Anchor butter answer.
The full answer on Anchor is at NZ Histroy Online.
Samo got three right and PDM can have a bonus for honesty.
Tuesday’s answers follow the break:
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The kiwi is New Zealand’s number one bird according to a Forest & Bird poll.
The top 10 birds in this year’s poll are:
1. Kiwi (1586 votes)
2. Rifleman (1230 votes)
3. Kea (1093 votes)
4. Kakapo (829 votes)
5. Tui (619 votes)
6. Takahe (571 votes)
7. Fernbird (462 votes)
8. Fantail ( 395 votes)
9. Karearea/native falcon (383 votes)
10. Pukeko (382 votes)
This is the fifth year the competition has been run. Last year the kakapo won and the kiwi didn’t make the top 10.
Previous winners were: the tui in 2005, the fantail in 2006 and the grey warbler in 2007.